Buboy Fernandez (left) and Justin Fortune.
Buboy Fernandez says Manny Pacquiao will peak on time
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 3, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Regular WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao’s chief trainer Buboy Fernandez said yesterday the fighting senator is now 60 percent of what he’ll be when the bell rings for his unification showdown against super WBA titlist Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 20.

“Right now, he’s about 60 percent,” said Fernandez in Pilipino at the Elorde Gym near the MOA Arena where Pacquiao works out every afternoon. “We don’t want to burn him out.  We’ve got six weeks to go, not counting the last week we’ll be in Vegas. I thought Manny overtrained for the (Jeff) Horn fight. But for (Lucas) Matthysse and (Adrien) Broner, (strength and conditioning coach) Justin (Fortune) and I designed a training program to build speed and stamina without overworking Manny. Sometimes, if his body is sore, he’ll take a day off. We want to preserve Manny’s energy for the fight and not burn him out in training. We’re aware that Manny’s now 40, not 24.”

Fortune said Pacquiao is 60 to 70 percent from peak condition. “He’s right where he should be,” said the Australian. “He’ll train in Manila up to when he leaves for L.A. He starts training at Wild Card on Monday, June 17. We’ve got four solid weeks of training in L.A. before we go to Vegas for fight week. Manny will peak at the right time.”

Starting tomorrow, Pacquiao will begin sparring on a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule. Assistant trainer Jonathan Peñalosa has lined up two 5-7 sparmates, Philippine superlightweight champion Jheritz Chavez of Cebu and Jestoni Autida of Zamboanga del Sur, for Pacquiao. “Their records aren’t outstanding but they’re tough and tall like Thurman,” said Peñalosa. “Senator will start sparring four rounds with them.” Chavez, 28, has a 9-3-2 record, with 7 KOs and is coming off a win by stoppage over Junar Adante. Autida, 28, totes an 11-11 record, with 5 KOs and has lost his last four bouts on points, a six-rounder in Russia. two eight-rounders in Japan, including one by split decision and a 10-rounder in Candelaria. 

Fortune said he’s in contact with Australian handlers to bring in Australian superwelterweight titleholder Tim Tszyu to spar with Pacquiao. At presstime, it still wasn’t confirmed if Tszyu had come to terms.

Fortune said he has a lot of respect for Thurman’s trainer Dan Birmingham whose protégés include two southpaws, former IBF/WBC lightheavyweight champion Chad Dawson and former IBF/WBC/WBA/WBO superwelterweight ruler Winky Wright. “I’ve worked with Dan in the corner for a few fights,” said Fortune. “I know Thurman is working with him now in Florida. Dan knows southpaws but Thurman has never fought anyone quite like Manny. I remember Thurman beating a southpaw Luis Collazo but that was when Collazo was near the end of his career. At his prime, Collazo would’ve beaten Thurman. Manny’s an unconventional southpaw. He hits from all angles, he’s fast, faster than anyone Thurman has faced. Thurman will find it hard to find southpaw sparring partners who can match Manny’s quickness.”

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